IN KEEPING WITH our Flashback Friday Features, this week we turn our attention to Cujo based upon the book bearing the same name by Stephen King.
Man’s best friend goes wild in this psychological horror, which sees the dog go from family protector (as seen in our recent podcast discussions, The Hills Have Eyes) to violent and rabid attacker.
The dog in question, an St Bernard, normally identified as a rescuer, is turned when he chases a rabbit into a bat cave, where a bat bites him.
From then on it’s only a matter of time before he would strike, taking down his neighbour and even his owner.
This leaves Donna (Dee Wallace) facing off against the beast whilst also protecting her son – Tad, who is probably the most anxious kid in history with a fear of monsters.
Donna and Tad end up trapped inside their car when they pay the mechanic (and wild dog owner) a visit.
Donna must face up to her fears and confront the dog to save herself and her son.
Whilst not the scariest Stephen King vehicle, Cujo must rely on the strength of Wallace’s performance.
The character of Donna is going through martial difficulties and has been having an affair, which rightly or wrongly, automatically makes her a flawed person.
Wallace certainly plays her with the right level of vulnerability and strength to keep the viewer engaged throughout it’s 90 minute running length, but just barely.
Which I personally wonder if this is the tight restrains that the novel is willing to allow?
My answer may come when a remake entitled C.U.J.O comes to light, but early reports suggest that this will stray from the original source material.
One last thing to add is that the cinematographer for this movie was Jan De Bont who would go on to direct Speed and Twister.
– Paul Farrell